Review by The Manx
"Bad name, decent game"
Have you, dear gamer, ever been flipping through back issues of really old video game magazines you found in your attic, then found an article on one you never played, but decided you needed to after reading that article? It happened to me recently while looking through an old GameFan, and I saw this bizarre looking title called Stone Protectors. One of the worst names I'd ever heard for a videogame, but once I played it, I was somewhat charmed.
Oh my, another mystical land is under attack by evil incarnate, another object of ultimate power is its goal. If that object was really so powerful, wouldn't the nice people just use it to make evil incarnate go away? And if the evil incarnate can march right over the people who have the all-powerful artifact, does he really need it?
This land, wherever and whenever it is, is under attack by the evil warlord Zok and his saurian armies. Princess Opal, custodian of the Great Crystal (clever name), splits it up rather than let it fall into Zok's hands. Princess Zelda, I mean, Opal, then joins forces with the legendary heroes given super-powers by the crystal's pieces, the Stone Protectors. At least you don't have to rescue her. Oh. And Zok gets a piece of the ultimate magic whatsits too, but you never hear about it again so it's probably nothing to worry about.
The graphics get the job done. You can tell your chosen Stone Protectors (jeez, who came up with that name?) apart from the bad guys withoutany trouble, and you can recognize most of the items and backgrounds. Not the prettiest game I've ever played, but they're acceptable.
It bears mentioning that the Stone Protectors look like superhero versions of those stupid troll dolls that used to be everywhere when I was in junior high. They've got the same chubby faces and rainbow-colored Vanilla Ice hair. Heck, I guess they even have the same jewels on their stomachs. The only thing they don't do is show their naked butts (thank god).
I might have weird tastes, but I personally think the music for Stone Protectors really worked. I got into most of the background songs, which kept me playing even as an endless array of frog-faced bad guys came out to do my troll hero harm. The sound effects were kind of run of the mill, but this is one game where you should definitely keep the sound on.
Stone Protectors is a standard go from left to right and beat the snot out of anybody you run into on the way type of game, like Final Fight with trolls. You can pick up weapons to make things interesting or food to refill your life bar. However, you also pick up jewels and if you have all five at the end of each board you get an extra life, an unusual feature for this genre. Since there's no continues, though, you'll soon appreciate it.
Each Stone Protector has a different special weapon attack he can use to create combos (Angus fires his gun then lobs a grenade, Cliff attacks with a plunger then an anchor), and can "charge up" a powerful frontal attack if you hold down the button, in addition to regular combo attacks and grapple techniques. It gives the characters a depth other games of this type don't often have, where there's noticeable differences between once playable character and another, instead of just what their sprite looks like and how many hits it takes to kill an enemy.
Stone Protectors is on the long side for a beat 'em up game, though, at ten or so levels, and only a couple generic frog-type soldiers to challenge your Stone Protector again and again (and again) through them all. I did beat it, but I don't feel compelled to make the commitment to do it again anytime soon.
Stone Protectors is an interesting relic of the SNES era. I wouldn't pay that much for it, especially in these days of rampant console emulation, but I went into it prepared to sneer my way through this review and came out pleasantly surprised.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 05/24/06, Updated 01/06/08
Game Release: Stone Protectors (US, 11/30/94)
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